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Cardinal Okogie advocates prisons reforms

By Etop Ekanem
LAGOS—THE Arch-bishop of Metropolitan See of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has stressed the need for prison inmates to be adequately cared for in the country.

Okogie who spoke, weekend, during a visit to the Minimum Security Prison, Kirikiri, Lagos, said Nigerian prisons had lost their purposes of being reformative homes.

He said, “the word ‘prison’ does not sound well. In developed countries, they do not call it prison. They see it as a reformative home. If you tell someone that he or she was going to be thrown into prison, you have already destroyed the person for life. So when the person eventually comes out of it, he sees himself as a jailbird and that idea continues to haunt him.

“In Nigeria, we fail to find out what really prompted the crime he committed, then try to orientate him. When you do these, he can now return to the society and be a useful citizen,” he added.

Lays foundation for prison chapel
The Cardinal, who used the occasion of his visit to lay a foundation for the Church Chapel inside the Minimum Security Prison, said the annual event was to ensure that “we visit these prisons and preach to the inmates and try to make them know that they are not forgotten.

“It is true that some of them are there either through their own fault,  through the fault of others or otherwise. So it is really a blessed thing to give a spiritual upliftment to them. So, today is a very special day for the inmates here. Instead of spending Christmas with your families, why not spend a day like this with people like these, who probably would not have anybody to visit them.”

Also speaking, Sir Patrick Ikemefuna, The Metropolitan Grand Knight, said the purpose of building a chapel in the prison yard was to give Catholic inmates a place of their own to worship.

He said, “that is why the Knights of St Mulumba decided that let us come here and give them a chapel. This chapel will cost N60 million and will be completed within six months. God willing, we will be here on the Cardinal’s birthday which is on June 16 to open the place.”


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